A/N: Hello and thanks for clicking on my story! For anyone reading my fanfic, "Piers' Lament", don't worry, I'm not abandoning it. I've just been working on this one for a while now and a recent set of updates from one of my favorite authors, Isla Bell (go read her fics Shelter and Self-Sabotage, it's good stuff) inspired me to start posting this story. I hope to post at least every one to two weeks, so be on the lookout for that. Either way, please read and review! Feel free to leave constructive criticism or even just a 'good job'. I'm not picky.
Disclaimer: I don't own Resident Evil or it's characters. If I did, I wouldn't be writing a fanfiction about it, would I?
Your orders are as follows:
Locate the terrorists' main base of operation
Find your way inside-avoiding detection
Gather intel via any method-except interrogation
Obtain a sample
Exit the area and contact headquarters
DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY
Do you understand your orders?
Do you accept your mission?
Proceed with Operation: Interlude
Chapter One: 1:33 pm on August 3rd, 2014
Chris' head ached as he came to. No, scratch that. His entire body felt like it'd been run over by a jet engine. Just what had happened?
Searching his memory, the mission brief he'd been given not 24 hours ago flashed in his head. He was hunting down terrorists. Or, more specifically, hunting down a new biological agent-a new virus.
Had he agreed to go alone? Possibly, yes. After all, it was just an intelligence sweep. If Chris was remembering right, all he needed to do was infiltrate the base and swipe a sample of the virus.
The bold faced, all cap font at the end of the mission brief came back to him, do not engage the enemy. Well, he apparently hadn't managed that one.
Shifting uncomfortably, Chris opened his eyes, vision blurry, and looked about his holding place. A jail cell-quaint-with the heavy smell of alcohol burning at his nose. The humidity was high too, Chris already breaking a sweat. He wasn't locked up-beside the whole being behind bars thing-and was simply lying on a cot. Sitting up slowly, body still aching, the brunette focused his gaze into the darkened hall just beyond his bars. More cells sat before him, but they were empty.
Upon listening closely, he could hear people murmuring. Were they guards or prisoners? Whoever they were, they weren't speaking English, Chris knew that for sure.
Desperately, he tried to remember where exactly he'd pinpointed the terrorists' base. Somewhere tropical, his best guess at the moment, but that wasn't necessarily helpful to him right now, especially since he didn't even know if he was there or not. Regardless of that, though, he knew he needed to get out. Wherever he was, it wouldn't matter if he was dead.
A quick look down at himself and he could see, even though the bits of haze in his sight, that they'd taken his clothes and weapons. Currently, he was wearing a simple cotton jumpsuit, orange in color. No doubt a standard in prison fashion.
Ok, so first things first. Find a weapon…
Standing, albeit slowly, he walked over to the bars, wrapped his large hands around them. They were warm to the touch and the sweat from his palms caused his fingers to slide a little as he leaned forward, attempting to gaze deeper into the hallway.
Aside from a few specks of orange inside some of the other cells, Chris didn't see anything of interest. Then the distinct sounds of footsteps came to him and, turning his eyes back into the hall, he could see men, armed to the teeth with ammunition and automatic gun, walking. Their boots clicked against the hard floor in unison and the orange dots that were once within Chris' vision shuffled out of sight.
The brunette didn't move. He stood there, grasping the bars, as he watched the men walk by. Their sun tanned skin, darkened and coated in sweat, gleamed dimly in the light as they approached Chris' cell, stopping in front of it.
Everything went silent, not even the slightest hint of breathing could be heard. Shifting uneasily, the brunette held his glare at them, even as one shouted off a command and the entire group did a quick turn. At once, the tiny army was facing Chris and the emptiness of their eyes sent a shiver down his spine.
The one who shouted the command spoke first, a Russian accent thick in his voice, "You have been chosen as the next contestant."
"Contestant? What do you mean?" Chris growled as he stood himself taller. The last thing he wanted to do was look weak in front of him, look like prey.
"All will be explained to you when you enter the chamber. Your Trial awaits." Without waiting for another question or comment from Chris, the Russian man used the butt of his gun to break away the rusted lock that clung to the door. A creaking echoed off the stone walls as the door slowly swung open. The Russian nodded at the brunette, the others positioning their guns at the ready.
Chris didn't move. "What if I refuse?"
At once, the clicking of guns cocking filled the silent space. The Russian spoke plainly, "Then our master will choose another."
Master…? So, whoever's running this show.
Stepping out silently, Chris didn't bother resisting. As good as fleeing sounded, he wasn't interested in becoming full of holes. The Russian man grabbed hold of Chris' arm, causing him to gasp. But not out of pain.
The coldness that came from the Russian's hand was unnatural, almost eerie. He felt dead and honestly, Chris had to wonder if he was. Had some virus already been put into use? Was this the result of infection? An animated corpse, one that did not visibly rot away? The Russian pushed him to the front of the unit, whose guns were still trained on Chris' back. Shouting out a command yet again in another language, the group began walking in unison, Chris' feet falling into the rhythm as they marched him through the hallway.
Never turning his head, Chris still looked around, eyes catching on the multitude of orange prisoners he hadn't been able to see before.
Are they all like me? Military?
It didn't take long to exit the dark hallway, leaving the damp, dank world to enter one of brilliant light. Chris flinched under the burning sun's bright rays and he felt the sweat roll down him in bucket fulls. The humidity was even worse outside than it was in.
The sound of a heavy, metal door closing-along with several bolt locks being engaged-came to Chris' senses. His brown eyes shot in the noise's direction, catching sight of a black, stone building.
The prison ward.
One of the men shoved Chris, causing him to stumble forward. Eyes finally adjusting to the light, he glared back at the man who'd pushed him but not even a scowl crossed the stranger's face. The Russian spoke up, "Keep your eyes forward. It won't be long until we're there."
Doing as he was told, Chris kept his head trained forward but that didn't stop him from looking around with his eyes. Toughs of concrete littered the ground, most of it broken and buried beneath the harsh greenery. There were scrapes of metal buried halfway underground as well, their shiny surface caked with rust, staining it a blood color. And in the distance, Chris could make out what looked like more buildings, albeit small ones. Maybe more prisoners were held there? He'd have to investigate that later given the chance. Foliage, thick and bright green against the brilliant sky, coated the world beyond the distant buildings. Just where was he?
They marched for what felt like an eternity and, by the end of it, Chris was already starting to feel dehydrated. Definitely not a good sign. The small army had only stopped marching when a large fortress-like building stood before them, hidden away by the foliage that surrounded it and the camouflage paint job the stone had received. Many tall, though now overtaken by plants, towers surrounded the facility, looming over Chris. Moving forward, they went past a tall security fence, one topped with razor sharp wire and charged with electricity to boot, passing through a gate guarded by several more people with the same blank looks on their faces.
The brunette was starting to sense a trend and the possibility that this virus had already been tested on a small population seemed more and more likely.
Finally, after a couple more security checks, Chris and his group of lifeless soldiers reached the fortress, entering quietly through a pair of large double doors. Taking several long halls and twisting turns, they reached a stairwell. Climbing it, even though Chris' legs protested against it, they reached the very top floor of the facility. A heavy, metal door stood at the top of the stairs and the Russian pulled out a key and opened it. Upon entering, Chris' jaw nearly dropped.
The interior held tens of monitors, each with a man stationed at it. In the center was a large table, maps sprawled across it. Several more of the papers were hanging on the wall, though currently they were mostly ignored. Large panes of glass circled the entire room, letting in the harsh, orange sunlight. The humidity clung to the windows, sliding down effortlessly and continually, as if produced by a rainstorm.
Chris had no problem recognizing what he was looking at.
An air traffic control room. Old, yes, but all the same. He was probably at a retired airfield, which would explain the concrete and metal scraps he'd seen on his way to the large building.
The cold touch of the Russian man startled Chris, the brunette being yanked to the side towards what appeared to be a closed off office space. The glass had been covered over and when the door was open, he felt the posh push of cool wind brush against his sizzling skin. Artificial lights tickled his eyes as he entered along with the Russian, the other standing guard outside.
Everything inside the office space was clean and orderly, almost so much so that it bothered Chris. It was luxurious compared to the dilapidated state of the rest of the complex. But he put that aside, his chocolate eyes coming to rest on a middle aged man sitting at a large, newly finished desk. The middle aged man smiled up at him from a thick file he was holding. Letting the folder and its content drop to the desk with a 'thud', the man stood up and gestured widely. "Welcome to my humble little paradise, Captain Redfield. I've been expecting you."
The man's voice was deep with a confidence even Chris wasn't sure he could manage. It was borderline cocky.
Chris didn't hesitate to speak, "Where the hell am I? What are you planning?"
The man shook his head, "I suppose that's your job, isn't it? To find out what I'm planning. As for where you are, I'm surprised you don't remember but, again, that's your problem, not mine."
Keeping his cool despite the heat, Chris shook his head, "What do you want?"
A smile appeared on the middle aged man's lips, "I want a lot of things, Redfield, most of which you could never give me."
"You know what I mean. What is it you're after?"
The man shrugged noncommittally, "Fun."
"What?" The simplicity of the answer threw him for a loop. A one-worded, single syllable answer. "What do you mean by 'fun'?"
Shaking his head, the middle aged man scoffed, "Regardless of what I mean, Redfield, I have decided that you are the best candidate for the next Trial." He turned towards the desk again, opening the file he'd been holding upon Chris' arrival in the air-conditioned room. Thumbing through the crisp pages, he spoke as he worked on locating what he was looking for, "Starting at sunrise, we'll be playing a game. It's a game that no one has yet won but, don't let that discourage you. It's never any fun if you don't try."
"What kind of game?"
"It's a simple game with simple rules. You see, all you have to do is escape."
Chris frowned, "I'm assuming there's more to it than that."
The middle aged man smirked, "Naturally."
"Care to share?"
He stopped his searching and looked up, "Starting tomorrow, my men will hunt you all over this island. There's a plane, fully fueled, sitting on this island with your name on it. If you escape, then you win. If you're caught, well, I guess I'll leave that part to your imagination." A cold smile broke across his lip, "Sound like fun?"
Escape an island before being caught. Yeah, sounds like tons of fun…
That didn't resolve the real reason Chris had come here to begin with, to obtain a sample of the new virus. Even if he couldn't remember much about the mission he'd been given, he did remember that. If this guy was the terrorist and was already using it on his own men, then it wouldn't be long before he started using it on innocent people, or worse, selling it to the highest bidders. Right now, pending Chris' safe return to the States, the BSAA would know where this place was, where the virus was. If the middle aged man sold it off, it could end up anywhere on the globe. With no sample, no anti-virus could be made and that would spell disaster before too long.
The man began shifting through the papers again, but the brunette spoke up anyway, "I'm not leaving without a sample of your virus."
Not even bothering to look up or stop what he was doing, the middle aged man fumbled with the sheets some more as he replied, "I fully intend on giving you one."
There was no way it was that simple. Chris just knew it wasn't that simple. "What's your catch?"
"No catch. You just have to get off the island with it, is all." Finally reaching the paper he was looking for, he twisted the folder on the desk, pushing it towards Chris. "Your sample is here." The middle aged man's finger tapped the sheet, causing the brunette to look down.
He couldn't breathe as he regarded the page, couldn't even think. Chris' entire body went numb and his eyes kept flicking between the paper on the desk and the man before him. Was he lying? Was this some kind of trick? What Chris was seeing on the page was just impossible. Wasn't it?
"Well," the middle aged man smirked, a bone chilling thrill in his voice, "Are you ready to begin the Trial?"